Taliban insurgents seized control of key facilities across a major city in northern Afghanistan on Monday, driving back stunned security forces in a multi-pronged attack that also sent Afghan officials and U.N. personnel fleeing for safety.
The fall of Kunduz would be a huge blow to the Western-backed government in Kabul and give Taliban insurgents a critical base of operations beyond their traditional strongholds in Afghanistan’s south.
The one thing the Obama administration will be remembered for, other than as the proximate cause of a thermonuclear exchange with Iran, will be the shame it has brought on American arms.
I’d discussed with friend that the success of the American military could be followed in billboards promoting Hamas in Lebanon. In 2000, the billboards featured a young man in robes and keffiyeh and carrying an AK-(your favorite model here). By 2006, the same billboards featured men in American camouflage pattern uniforms (typically the older BDU pattern) and holding an M-4 carbine. The uniforms changed because everyone wants to look like a winner. In the span of six years a winner went from someone looking like an Hamas fighter to someone looking like a US soldier-wannabe.
The 9/11 Commission report emphasized the key role our retreat from Somali played in convincing al Qaeda that they could drive us from the Middle East.
A loss like this is symptomatic of a deeper systemic rot in morale and command structure. Even if the government succeeds wresting control of this city back from the Taliban, the propensity to run is obviously well established in the Afghan military and the Taliban know they are winning. We are probably months away from helicopters landing on the roof of the US embassy in Kabul.
After 12 years of combat and thousands of young men killed and maimed, Barack Obama has succeeded in throwing away everything, in repudiating victories in two wars, for no greater reason than because he could.